Knowing your supply chain

Working optimally with suppliers is a must for SME owners to manage risk and build their reputation amongst partners. Getting the best out of your supply chain and working efficiently to protect your operations is as important for small businesses as it is for larger corporations.

Managing security risks and ensuring the continued supply of products and services is a central issue for every business. This is especially true for those engaged in traditionally supplychain heavy sectors like manufacturing, construction, aerospace and automotive.

Using standards to optimize supply chain management gives small businesses the confidence to work with much larger partners, as well as a building a secure base for growth. 

ISO 28000, the internationally recognized supply chain security management standard, helps SMEs create a specific system to outline and then manage the unique risks presented by their operations and supply relationships.

The standard helps small businesses facilitate trade and expedite the transport of goods across borders, as well as secure the safety of individuals and products in the process. ISO 28000 also helps SME management teams to focus finite resources in priority areas to optimize efficiency. It allows smaller companies to work effectively with larger chain partners,while demonstrating reliability and credibility to customers and stakeholders across the globe – both existing and potential. 

Small businesses also have a responsibility toconsider how they impact the local community and the environment. Whether a company behaves ethically and sustainably has become very important in consumer decision making, and SMEs are just as accountable as large corporations. Taking a standards-based approach is the best way to establish a responsible supply chain.

Fundamentally, every supply chain is based on partnerships – companies working together and supporting one another. ISO 44001 and BS 11000-2, which focus on collaborative business relationship management systems, can help small businesses optimize their partnerships. The first helps define key requirements, while the latter allows businesses to implement new relationship management systems.

 It’s also worth considering specific standards on environmental management such as ISO 14001, as well as using ISO 20400 to guide sustainable procurement. Both provide efficiency and costsaving benefits, and reduce the impact of your business. 

There is even an international risk management standard, ISO 31000. It is designed to help small business owners improve the confidence of partners, suppliers and investors – a crucial aspect of good supply chain relationships. Certification to ISO 31000 demonstrates a clear commitment to risk management, which in itself can be a useful reputation builder. 

Finally, in today’s ever-changing digital landscape it’s never been more important for small businesses owners to make sure they understand information security risks – especially in light of major international legislation like the general data protection regulation (GDPR). ISO 27001, which covers information security, helps SME owners protect against hacking, phishing and data loss from human error. It also helps response and recovery in the event of a data breach or cybersecurity incident. Part of a large family of related standards – the ISO/IEC 27000 series – which guide the creation and implementation of an information security management system (ISMS). 

Running a small business has always meant taking calculated risks, indeed it’s often a key step on the path to growth. However, your supply chain is not an area to act without full confidence. Small businesses can use standards to determine their unique supply chain risks, and then introduce management systems to address them, build resilience and boost assurance – as well as gain a competitive advantage in international trade.


  • The ability to manage security risks and ensure the continued supply of products and services is a central issue for every business. SMEs can use standards to optimize their supply chain management, boost confidence in their operations, and build a secure base for growth.
  • ISO 28000, the internationally recognized supply chain security management standard, helps SMEs create a specific system to outline and then manage the unique risks presented by their operations and supply relationships.
  • Fundamentally, every supply chain is based on partnerships – companies working together and supporting one another. BISO 44001 and BS 11000-2, which focus on collaborative business relationship management systems, can help small businesses optimize these partnerships.
  • Standards on environmental management such as ISO 14001, and ISO 20400 on sustainable procurement, help improve supply chain efficiency and as well as ensuring your activities are responsible.
  • The international risk management standard, ISO 31000 helps small business owners improve the confidence of partners, suppliers and investors – a crucial aspect of goodsupply chain relationships – while ISO 27001, allows SME owners to protect against hacking, phishing and data loss from human error.